Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 22, 2002
Vegreville WYD unites Ukrainian, Roman Catholics
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
While some people are frequenting Internet chat rooms looking for love or something else, Miranda Sokalski, 19, is looking for people to chat with about faith.
The second year English major at Concordia College has Internet chat friends from Texas, who have had a positive influence on her.
One day, their topic of conversation went to World Youth Day.
"My friends went to Rome in 2000 and they said, 'It was really cool' and they recommended that I go to the one in Toronto."
The thought that it's being held in her country and in Toronto, where she has never been before, encouraged her to go.
But she also wanted to surround herself with positive influences and "to meet other people who share the same faith and values as mine."
So the outspoken Sokalski joined the WYD group from her home parish of St. Martin of Tours.
The Salt and Light book proved helpful for the group's spiritual preparation..
"The book is an easy read. Some of the questions it has can really get you thinking," Sokalski said.
Questions like, "Am I on the right life path?" Chapters on morals and stories of modern day saints prompted Sokalski to reflect on her life.
The group also bought the CD featuring the songs of WYD so they will know them before Toronto.
The group, which is a combination of the Roman and Ukrainian Catholics, served monthly meals in the church - usually a soup and a bun for a toonie. They had a hotdog day and bottle drive to augment their funds. On Canada Day, the Knights of Columbus helped them run a concession at Kinsmen Heritage Park.
"Preparing for the WYD is like a journey the whole way. But when we get there, it's going to be the big thing in the end."
Sokalski, who will turn 20 on July 28, the last day of WYD, can't wait to do a service project in Toronto. "I want to go and have fun."
Group coordinator Mark Kobelsky told the WCR, "Everyone in our group is excited to see the pope and attend the catechesis. It's kind of the climax for a year of preparation."
Kobelsky maintains a youth group (between Grade 8 to 12) in the parish and a core of that group is going to WYD. He hopes that the young people attending WYD will be able to deepen their faith as "most teenagers go through a certain kind of phase where they waver in their faith."
"I think part of what WYD offers is to invite the young people to recommit themselves," Kobelsky stressed.
David Tetreau, 17, said his mother got him involved with the group. A couple of his friends are going and Kobelsky, who is his teacher at school, invited him to join.
"It's been a good experience. We've gone through a lot of stuff right now to prepare for this."
Tetreau has been reading Salt and Light and talking to some friends and his parish priest.
From his point of view, the Church needs the young people to get together and seriously talk about their faith.
"I think (WYD) could be a good push for the involvement of the youth in the affairs of the Church."